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DNA coatings help achieve new forms of colloidal self-assembly

June 13, 2013 8:58 pm | News | Comments

Colloidal solutions are made up of large particles, dispersed in a liquid solvent, that achieve stable structural arrangements through various types of self-assembly. But what about self-assembly of two—or more—species of different colloids? Scientists showed that when the interactions between the particles of two different DNA-coated colloids are carefully designed, they result in the formation of new structures.

Research identifies scent of melanoma

June 13, 2013 6:00 pm | News | Comments

Melanoma is a tumor that is responsible for approximately 75% of skin cancer deaths. According to new research, odors from human skin cells can be used to identify melanoma. The method, which uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques, takes advantage of the fact that human skin produces numerous airborne chemical molecules known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, many of which are odorous.

Papaya-clay combo could cut cost of water purification

June 12, 2013 2:35 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Technology exists for removing heavy metals from drinking water, but often is too costly in developing countries. Scientists are now reporting the development of an inexpensive new material made of clay and papaya seeds removes harmful metals from water and could lower the cost of providing clean water to millions of people in the developing world.

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With brain-computer interface, tasks become as simple as waving a hand

June 11, 2013 6:07 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. Researchers have recently shown the brain can adapt to this brain-computer interface technology. Their work shows that it behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing, or waving a hand.

Why the shape of nanoparticles matters

June 10, 2013 4:13 pm | News | Comments

A new study involving researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that the shape of nanoparticles can enhance drug targeting. The study found that rod-shaped nanoparticles—or nanorods—as opposed to spherical nanoparticles, appear to adhere more effectively to the surface of endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels.

Surgeons implant bioengineered vein

June 6, 2013 2:19 pm | News | Comments

In a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, a team of doctors at Duke University Hospital helped create a bioengineered blood vessel and transplanted it into the arm of a patient with end-stage kidney disease. The procedure was the first U.S. clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of the bioengineered blood vein.

Solar-powered nanofilters pump in antibiotics to clean contaminated water

June 5, 2013 11:51 am | News | Comments

Using the same devious mechanism that enables some bacteria to shrug off powerful antibiotics, scientists in Ohio have developed solar-powered nanofilters that remove antibiotics from the water in lakes and rivers twice as efficiently as the best existing technology. They say their “vesicle”-like technology is an improvement on existing activated carbon filters.

New method mass produces high-quality DNA

June 3, 2013 9:55 am | News | Comments

A new method of manufacturing short, single-stranded DNA molecules uses enzymatic production methods to create a system that not only improves the quality of the manufactured oligonucleotides but that also makes it possible to scale up production using bacteria in order to produce large amounts of DNA copies cheaply.

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Russians find mammoth carcass with liquid blood

May 31, 2013 10:19 am | by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists said Thursday. The carcass was in such good shape because its lower part was stuck in pure ice, said Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum, who led the expedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.

New single virus detection technique yields faster diagnosis

May 30, 2013 2:29 pm | News | Comments

To test the severity of a viral infection, clinicians try to gauge how many viruses are packed into a certain volume of blood or other bodily fluid. However, the standard methods used for these tests are only able to estimate the number of viruses in a given volume of fluid. Now two independent teams have developed new optics-based methods for determining the exact viral load of a sample by counting individual virus particles.

Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor

May 23, 2013 10:49 pm | by Liz Ahlberg, University of Illinois | News | Comments

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, or provide immediate and inexpensive medical diagnostic tests.

Researchers develop radioactive nanoparticles that target cancer cells

May 22, 2013 9:09 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Missouri have successfully created nanoparticles made of a radioactive form of the element lutetium. By covering these particles with gold shells and attaching targeting agents, they have a tool that can seek out dangerous secondary lymphoma tumors. They recently demonstrated the nanoparticles can find the tumors without attaching to or damaging healthy cells.

Researchers perform fastest measurements ever made of ion channel proteins

May 20, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers at Columbia Engineering has used miniaturized electronics to measure the activity of individual ion-channel proteins with temporal resolution as fine as one microsecond, producing the fastest recordings of single ion channels ever performed. Ion channels are biomolecules that allow charged atoms to flow in and out of cells, and they are an important work-horse in cell signaling, sensing, and energetics.

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Stem cells recovered from cloned human embryos

May 16, 2013 12:38 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have finally recovered stem cells from cloned human embryos, a longstanding goal that could lead to new treatments for such illnesses as Parkinson's disease and diabetes. A prominent expert called the work a landmark, but noted that a different, simpler technique now under development may prove more useful.

Turning up the heat on biofuels

May 15, 2013 3:11 pm | News | Comments

The production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass would benefit on several levels if carried out at temperatures between 65 and 70 C. Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute have employed a promising technique for improving the ability of enzymes that break cellulose down into fermentable sugars to operate in this temperature range.

Engineered biomaterial could improve success of medical implants

May 14, 2013 12:24 pm | News | Comments

It’s a familiar scenario—a patient receives a medical implant and days later, the body attacks the artificial valve or device, causing complications to an already compromised system. Expensive medical devices and surgeries often are thwarted by the body’s natural response to attack something in the tissue that appears foreign. Now, University of Washington engineers have demonstrated in mice a way to prevent this sort of response.

Grammar errors? The brain detects them even when you are unaware

May 14, 2013 10:40 am | News | Comments

Your brain often works on autopilot when it comes to grammar. That theory has been around for years, but University of Oregon neuroscientists have captured elusive hard evidence that people indeed detect and process grammatical errors with no awareness of doing so.  

Bovine blood keeps gold nanoparticles stable

May 14, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

According to recent research at Rice University, bovine serum albumin (BSA) forms a protein “corona” around gold nanoparticles that keeps them from aggregating, particularly in high-salt environments like seawater. The discovery could lead to improved biomedical applications and contribute to projects that use nanoparticles in harsh environments.

Microgravity nanomedicine experiment may go to Space Station

May 14, 2013 10:00 am | News | Comments

Nearly all drugs taken orally spike in concentration, decay quickly, and are only at their peak effectiveness for a short period of time. working on a solution―nanocapsules implanted beneath the skin that release pharmaceutical drugs through a nanochannel membrane and into the body at a sustained, steady rate. To design better nanochannels for a given drug, the team is hoping to use the International Space Station.

Researchers develop synthetic HDL cholesterol nanoparticles

May 14, 2013 9:46 am | News | Comments

A new study by University of Georgia researchers documents a technological breakthrough: Synthetic high density lipoprotein (HDL) nanoparticles. A completely biodegradable synthetic version of the so-called good cholesterol, the nanoparticles represent a potential new detection and therapy regimen for atherosclerosis.

Building protocells from inorganic nanoparticles

May 10, 2013 1:05 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. have led a new enquiry into how extremely small particles of silica (sand) can be used to design and construct artificial protocells in the laboratory. By attaching a thin polymer layer to the external surface of an artificial inorganic protocell built from silica nanoparticles, the scientists have potentially the problem of controlling membrane permeability.

“Marathon” mice and”'couch potato” mice reveal key to muscle fitness

May 8, 2013 12:09 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have identified MicroRNAs as the missing link between the two defining features of muscle fitness: fuel-burning and fiber-type switching. The team used two complementary mouse models—the "marathon mouse" and the "couch potato mouse"—to make the finding, which could provide a potential new target for interventions that boost fitness in people with chronic illness or injury.

Engineers build living patch for damaged hearts

May 7, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

Duke University biomedical engineers have grown 3D human heart muscle that acts just like natural tissue. This advancement could be important in serving as a platform for testing new heart disease medicines. The “heart patch” grown in the laboratory from human cells overcomes two major obstacles facing cell-based therapies—the patch conducts electricity at about the same speed as natural heart cells and it “squeezes” appropriately.

Scientists build a living patch for damaged hearts

May 6, 2013 12:24 pm | News | Comments

Duke University biomedical engineers have grown three-dimensional human heart muscle that acts just like natural tissue. The "heart patch" grown in the laboratory from human cells overcomes two major obstacles facing cell-based therapies—the patch conducts electricity at about the same speed as natural heart cells and it "squeezes" appropriately.  

Study uses Botox to find new wrinkle in brain communication

May 2, 2013 2:36 pm | News | Comments

National Institutes of Health researchers have used the popular anti-wrinkle agent Botox to discover a new and important role for a group of molecules that nerve cells use to quickly send messages. This novel role for the molecules, called SNARES, may be a missing piece that scientists have been searching for to fully understand how brain cells communicate under normal and disease conditions.

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